Not Everyone

NOVEMBER 23

MATTHEW 7:21_Not everyone…

Since Jesus begins this teaching by saying not everyone, there must be some exclusiveness. Can mercy be exclusive? If so, who decides who is excluded? Would it be Jesus? How does He decide it?

Mercy is a God-like attribute.

Mercy is a Jesus quality.

Mercy covers sins.

Mercy covers shortcomings.

Mercy covers failures.

Mercy rescues the undeserving. 

Mercy brings the lost to shelter and safety.

Mercy does this by its very nature of being merciful.

However, one of those hard realities of life we prefer to avoid, is mercy is not limitless.

That is hard truth! 

Mercy has no limit for askers, seekers, and knockers. But arrogant pretenders, aka hypocrites, will experience that hard truth.

Personally, I don’t think mercy had limits in the Garden of Eden. But free will caused it to pull in the reins, put on the brakes, and turn off the power.

That’s when a phrase like, not everyone, came into play. Mercy is for everyone, just as life without death was for Adam and Eve, but everyone has the freedom to reject it. 

PRAYER

King of Kings, Please help me never to reject Your mercy. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                                                       

Christ offers mercy to those who will receive it—I will receive!                                              

Plenty of Room

OCTOBER 24

MATTHEW 7:13_for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction…

Then there is the second gate. Jesus describes it as wide and broad. You won’t need any help finding that gate. It is wide—how could you miss it? When you reach an accountable age, your eyes are opened to two gates; you’ll see the widest one first. The size makes it visible, and … more tempting. 

Because of its size, you see something else—how easy it is to enter. The wideness allows you to bring all kinds of baggage. 

Not only is the gate wide, but once inside the way is broad. If in the baggage you brought along some pride, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes arrogance. If you brought just a little bit of a grudge, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes hate and bitterness.

In Jesus’ words it’s plain – this broad way leads to destruction. Count on it! Psalm 27:11 (KJV), “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”

Make the choice in your youth to enter the strait gate. It will save you numerous regrets in your adult life.          

PRAYER

God Who Saves, Please save me from entering the destructive path of life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.        

Christ saves me from the wide gate—I will follow Him!

It Is They

MAY 10

MATTHEW 6:2_Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

Hypocrites. If anyone makes the Bible and the Christian faith look bad, it is they. If anyone can make a good act look bad, it is they. If anyone can make what should be an act of love turn into ego, it is they. If anyone can tip the scales so judgment outweighs mercy, it is they. If anyone can take a lie and cleverly disguise it as the truth, it is they. 

Is it any wonder Jesus accepted the thieves, murderers, and morally impure over the religious hypocrites?

The former came to Jesus broken, bleeding captives seeking forgiveness and love. They came with a repentant heart. Covered His feet with their tears.

The latter came self-assured and confident of their lack of need for help. They came with an arrogant heart – saw themselves good.

Hypocrites love to sound the trumpet before their good deeds. They desire to bring glory to themselves.

They make sure they receive praise.

And the whole world needs to know!

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, Only You are worthy to receive glory, and honor, and blessing, forever and ever. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ alone is worthy of the world’s glory—I praise Him!  

180

APRIL 17

MATTHEW 5:39_but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

If someone slaps you in the face, turn so they can do it again. What? No way! Jesus couldn’t possibly mean that! Where’s the balance?

There are more ways to be slapped than just physical. The pain of words is one – don’t want to be on the receiving end of that unbridled anger. An arrogant attitude is another – treated like you’re less than stupid. In whatever form the slap comes, Jesus has already taught not to seek revenge. Does He say to let yourself be slapped again? That doesn’t make sense.

The teachings of Jesus can be radical – way radical! These law transformations are when Jesus is at His topsy-turvy best. His teaching appears to be wrong, maybe even crazy. A heart that has not been or is not being changed will find them to be just that – crazy!     

Jesus has set a stage. Take a seat and enjoy the show. This is a play about a good guy who is injured by an evil bully. The bully is motivated by jealousy and envy. The good guy’s injury causes hardships in his life. The good guy looks for help but no one rushes to his rescue. Everyone fears the bully.

The good guy’s help comes from Jesus’ 180 degree turn.

PRAYER

Lord of Lords, You want to rescue me from the devil’s evil deeds. Help me make the turns I need to make. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.     

Christ’s love knows when to turn—He will teach me!